Why take courses in this discipline?

Philosophical thinking is at the foundation of education in the liberal arts. Philosophy enriches thought, imagination, understanding, and experience. By studying philosophy, you’ll confront questions and problems both theoretical and practical about yourself and your relation to the world. The department’s curriculum focuses on interdisciplinary and classical philosophical topics, the history of philosophy, and offers coverage of both the continental and Anglo-American (‘analytic’) traditions of modern western philosophy. The ideas and skills you’ll master can lead to graduate studies and careers in almost any discipline and field.

How does this discipline contribute to the liberal arts?

Courses offered in philosophy concern communication/writing and human behavior and society.

What kinds of questions are asked in this discipline?

Philosophy courses explore questions like: what is the fundamental nature and population of reality? Is knowledge possible? Does science arrive at knowledge? How ought we to act? How should human societies be organized? What makes human beings human beings? What is the relation of mind to brain (and body)? In what ways do gender, race, and class determine our individual and collective identities?

How does a student get started?

PHI 111: Introduction to Philosophy or PHI 121: Philosophy for Life are gateway courses to the discipline and either should be taken by students interested in beginning the major or in gaining a general background to the field.

There are a number of other 100-level philosophy courses open to first-year students: PHI 101 (Logic), 102 (Symbolic Logic), 106 (Contemporary Ethical Issues), and 135 (Philosophy and Literature).

AP/IB Credit

A score of 5 on the IB philosophy exam would count for four credits in the humanities division.

Courses in Philosophy

All Courses in Philosophy

Regular 200-Level Courses

  • Existentialism
  • History of Ancient Philosophy
  • History of Early Modern Philosophy
  • Ethical Theory
  • Philosophy of Art
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Language and Cognition
  • Political Theory I
  • Political Theory II
  • Neurophilosophy
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Epistemic Injustices and Resistance

Recent Seminars

  • Contemporary French Philosophy
  • Advanced Studies in Continental Philosophy
  • Advanced Studies in Theories of Value
  • Advanced Studies in the History of Philosophy
  • Advanced Studies in Anglo-American Philosophy

Recent Special Topics

  • Introduction to Asian Philosophy
  • Self, Others, & Society
  • Reading Arendt
  • The Good, The Beautiful, The Brain
  • The School-to-Prison Pipeline
  • Intersubjectivity and Recognition
  • Digital Stories for Social Justice
Sample Four-Year Plan for a Philosophy Major
Year Fall Spring
First PHI 111 or PHI 121 PHI 111 or PHI 121, or PHI 233
Second PHI 231 and/or PHI 2XX from the list of area requirements PHI 233 and/or PHI 2XX from the list of area requirements

PHI 231 and/or PHI 2XX from the list of area requirements

or OCS (with additional 200-level in an alternate semester)

PHI 2XX from the list of area requirements

or OCS (with additional 200-level in an alternate semester)

Fourth PHI 3XX PHI 3XX

Off-Campus Study

Recommended OCS programs: Bologna, Italy; Leuven, Belgium; Otago, New Zealand. Courses taken abroad can count toward the major if they have sufficient philosophical content to meet with the approval of the faculty.

Contributions to Other Majors/Concentrations

Courses in philosophy contribute to majors in:

Courses in philosophy contribute to concentrations in:

Department Events and Opportunities

The John H. Worley Prize in philosophy. The Second-Year Book Prize. Monthly Philosophy Table. Bi-weekly Minorities in Philosophy 'Chai and Chat.'

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